Author Archive

Social Re-Construction Article

Submitted by Michael Hobbis on 15/08/2014. Posted in Responsibility

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that
which is born of the Spirit is spirit.John 3:6

There is a disturbing trend among many of the evangelical churches today which has been described as ‘social re-construction’ This has as its motive an understandable desire to see the world living righteously. However well meaning these desires are, a christianised world, is, as C.H.Spurgeon once remarked, ‘a blasphemy’.

Faith or values?
It seems that many evangelicals would encourage the men and women of this world to live their lives according to Christian values and precepts, by presenting to the ungodly the Scriptural practice of divinely ordained marriage between one man and one woman; or by anti-abortion campaigns; or the idea that convicted criminals may be reformed; or street pastoring, or that drug takers and alcoholics should be led into social programmes whereby their addictions can be dealt with. (Let us note that the Muslims have the same type of programmes and objectives too). This is merely dealing with the symptoms in society of a terrible disease which only the Divine Physician can cure.

Yes, we are to be going about doing good and to visit and help the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, but to feed and help prodigals without showing them the way back to their Father’s house may seem to be commendable; but it is to leave them LOST. When Jesus healed a person He pointed them to faith in Himself – and so should we point to Him. Not simply to a better way of living.

It is also commonly held that the Christian can use political pressure and so influence the governments of the day, so as to lead them to govern as if their government were theocratic. Such things will never come to pass until the reign of Christ Jesus our Saviour.

It is undoubtedly true that by the knowledge of the Moral Law of God – the Ten Commandments – and the teaching of the judgement to come; that men are in part, restrained from the grosser acts of evil, just as the fear of going to prison restrains some from committing the crimes their hearts would have a mind to.

We read in Romans 1; 19 – 32; that the uninstructed savage having in himself that knowledge that there is a Creator, would in his sinful ignorance and fear seek to placate his ‘offended gods’ by sacrifices and superstitious practices. Likewise the Jew believes that in his keeping of the laws of God he is righteously acceptable in the sight of his Maker.

However, restraint and self-righteousness are not conversion. For Christians to leave men short of eternal salvation by teaching them moral values, and leaving them in that state is not just mistaken; but monstrously wicked.

Ye must be born again. John 3: 7
The natural man has little desire to keep the law of God, neither can he if he would. For the Bible teaches that by the law is the knowledge of sin and all the world is guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: Only those born again by God the Holy Spirit possess that new heart and new spirit which now seeks to live according to the will of God. When the true Christian can fulfil any part of God’s will – however imperfectly – it is his delight and joy. ‘I delight to do thy will O God’ is in his heart.

Thus it is the REGENERATED CHRISTIAN ALONE with his new nature and living by faith in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, that he/she becomes the salt of the earth and so condemns the wicked by the reproof of a holy life. It is these who live in and by the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ who are persecuted and hated by an ungodly age, and so follow their God incarnate who was wickedly crucified by the men of this world. As spoke the Lord Jesus Christ when He said: ‘Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!’ Luke 6:26; and the apostle John: ‘marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.’

To become friends with the world, and get along side them, or to expect worldly men, women and children to live a life of purity according to the statutes and precepts of God, and to live in a way which pleases Him without the new birth, is not only impossible but ungodly, and a false gospel. Our commission is to tell men that they ‘must be born again’. It is not enough to present a mode of life which is pleasing to God. Nothing but a complete ‘New Man’ is what is required, and this only by applying to Christ in faith.

Preaching not protesting
Moreover, in a large measure it seems, the Christian church today has adopted the world’s demonstration/protest culture and has moved away from the preached Gospel; to protesting to the world at large about their sinful behaviour.

Not by protests, or by moral crusades, or by letters to parliament, will men’s hearts be changed for it was only by the complete gospel preached by men such as John Wesley and George Whitfield, in the 18th century and at other similar blessed times, when this land was shaken by the convincing work of the Holy Ghost and righteousness once more exalted the nation both here and in the USA.

As wrote Paul, the apostle of Christ: ‘It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe’. 1Cor.1:21. Preaching not protesting

The term protestant in its original application by the reformers has always applied to those who were protesting to some in the professing Christian church who were perverting Christian doctrine. Nowhere, as far as I know, do we find in the Scriptures the apostles protesting to the world or the governments of this world about their sins; unless it was in the context of preaching the whole gospel; e.g. ‘Ye men of Athens… whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you’. Acts 17:23.

It is not our business to change society by trying to inculcate in men, women and children Christian moral values; God alone can accomplish that if He will; but His method in all ages has only ever been through the changed hearts of those of His elect who have been born again from above by the Word of God; and so become the salt of the earth. The more the salt – the less rotten the society.

Scripture makes a distinct difference when its comes to making an issue of specific sins in believers and unbelievers
Today we have those evangelicals who, however well-meaning, are specifically targeting the people of this world who are practising homosexuality, homosexual marriage, abortion, euthanasia, sex before marriage, paedophilia and other individual sins.

These serious sins can rarely be found among professing believers, but where they are they are to be dealt with by the discipline of the local church.

However, the world of men within these terms are to be left to their Judge – even their Creator. What says the Scripture: 1 Corinthians 5, explains this very clearly in verses 9 – 13; where Paul the apostle of Christ says by inspiration: ‘For for what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth…’

The majority if not all, of the leading commentators are at one on this Scripture. Whether John Gill, Adam Clark, Albert Barnes or Matthew Henry.

John Gill comments: “For what have I to do to judge, &c. To admonish, reprove, censure, and condemn: them also that are without? Without the church, who were never in it, or members of it; to whom ecclesiastical jurisdiction does not reach…”

The Puritan Geneva Bible notes state: “Those who are false brethren ought to be cast out of the congregation. As for those who are outside of it, they must be left to the judgement of God,”

We have no warrant in the New Testament to engage in political activities or to coerce unbelievers into adopting Christian values. Yes, we are to meekly and humbly to reprove sin everywhere we come across it, particularly in fellow believers (‘thou shalt not suffer sin upon him’ Lev 19: 17)

We show ungodly men their sins generally in presenting the gospel; but it is the work of the Holy Ghost to fasten sin to the conscience, and so effectually call out His own elect. ‘There is forgiveness with thee’ Ps. 130; is not just for a specific sin, such as homosexuality, but encompasses all sin; whether by commission or omission.

To endeavour to change society by moral persuasion – even by presenting Scriptural precepts – is futile and erroneous.

‘But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.’ 1 Tim 3:13, 14.

Michael Hobbis

Social Re-Construction Article

THE CROSSROADS OF LIFE

Submitted by Michael Hobbis on 10/08/2014. Posted in Articles

By: Michael Hobbis
(CW Committee Member)

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, we will not hearken.” Jeremiah 6:16-17.

Jeremiah the prophet, by the Holy Ghost, exhorted the professing people of God in his day, who hoped to arrive in Heaven at the end of their earthly lives, to consider the way in which they were travelling. “Stand ye in the ways, and see”; look to the signpost at the crossroads. Find out if you really are in the good way to Heaven, lest you be found at the end in Hell!

When we travel on a journey, we consider it sensible to look for signposts or ask directions. The allegory here shows that our spiritual journey is much the same as an earthly physical one; except that a mistake here is eternally fatal – unless repentance is sought.

Happily, all the directions we need are to be found in the pages of the Bible, the Book of God, which will never lead us astray as we ask the Great Interpreter of it, the Holy Spirit of truth, to lead and guide us.

The wrong path of “New Evangelicalism”
However, it must be said here that today many in the Christian church who would be regarded as Christian Evangelicals are travelling in false paths; who the God of the Bible calls in Jer. 18:15 those who “stumble in their ways from the ancient paths…..in a way not cast up.” Roads are built that men may travel safely, but, as with “Pilgrim” in John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress,” many have wandered into “By-path meadow;” ways that God says are ways not cast up (not constructed by God). N.B. The people have been deceived by those who say “Peace, peace; when there is no peace” Jer. 6:14. This is the novel way of New Evangelicalism.

Q. What then is this dangerous new way and how does it contrast with the old way recommended by God?

A. It has – as Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Tim. 3:5-7 – a form of godliness but denies the power of it. “Ever learning” i.e. reading the Bible, but “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

This New Evangelicalism may also be identified by a lack of what the Bible calls “The fear of God” and a true repentance, which is shown by a “broken and a contrite heart” for sin. See Psalm 51:17.

This false way, which looks very much like the right way, is that of the Pharisees of our Lord’s day; for the New Evangelicals speak much of spreading the Gospel and freely speaking of Jesus dying for our sins, even supporting missions and proselytising; but as He spoke of those religious leaders then: so it is with these now. “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” Matt. 15:8.

The New Evangelical seeks to live as the world lives and does not lead a separated life as a “Stranger and Pilgrim;” therefore these would “Christianise” worldliness, by putting the name Christian in front of everything that their heart lusts after, viz. Christian rock music; Christian motor rallying; Christian fashions; Christian comedians and much more.

But as the Apostle John wrote to the Church:

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him…And the world passeth away and the lust thereof:”

Also Paul “And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away” 1 Cor. 7:31.

Perhaps, more seriously, this false route being taken would associate – and even fellowship with – the Ecumenical Movement with its links to Roman Catholicism and even the Greek Orthodox Church and that apostate body, the World Council of Churches. This wicked Movement embraces those who deny the substitutionary work of Christ and speak blasphemously of Christ’s precious blood.

The New Evangelicalism is FLIPPANT; FOOLISH; FEARLESS AND FALSE. It demands novel Hymns; novel Bibles; and novel methods of worship such as Messy Church; and like the world of excessive consumerism, it is always promoting that which is New.

To return to Jeremiah, who under the inspiration of God called the professing Church back to the old paths, telling them that if they did return they would find rest to their souls, we read in Proverbs 3:17 that this good way is a “way of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”

Sadly, those people would not listen and take heed of the warning from God; and out of love to their sin they said “We will not walk therein” and “We will not hearken”.

Perhaps you, if you are a New Evangelical, find all this faintly amusing or even foolishness, believing that your way is best. But do take to heart that awesome Scripture which the Holy Ghost repeats twice: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25.

Look well to your direction of travel.
_________________________________

Moses striking the Rock

Submitted by Michael Hobbis on 29/07/2014. Posted in Articles

Author  Bob Luginbill

http://ichthys.com

 

Question: What’s your response to the two different commandments given to Moses to get water from the rock? (Ex 17:5-6 and Num 20:8). In the first instance, Moses was told to take the rod and the elders and strike the rock. In the second, Moses was told to take the rod and Aaron and speak to the rock. Were these two incidences analogous to Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection? Was Moses punished because either he did not follow God’s command exactly or he messed up the analogy or both? Thanks! I have not read all the articles on your website, but the ones I have read, I have enjoyed and appreciated.

 

Response: I believe that you have it right. I also understand the rock to be a type of Christ the true Rock (cf. 1Cor.10:4), and the water to be a type of the water of the Word through which we are saved and spiritually refreshed (Is.55:1; Jn.3:5; 3:8 [Greek]; Jn.4:10; 4:13-14; 7:37-39; 1Cor.10:4; Eph.5:26; Heb.10:22; 1Jn.5:8; Rev.7:17; 21:6; 22:1; 22:17; cf. Ex 17:5-6; Num. 20:8; Ps.42:1-2; 63:1; 84:5-7; Is.41:17; 44:3;Jer.2:13). The first striking of the rock took place early in the Exodus and is a picture of Him who was stricken for us (cf. Is.53:4), but the second striking of the rock took place at the end of the 40 years in the wilderness, where the rock was clearly meant to be a symbol of the victory that is based upon our Lord’s sacrifice, a Second Advent reference, just as the entrance into the land is typical of the restoration of Israel after the Second Advent (i.e., so we have two rocks representing two advents; cf. the colt and the foal in Matt.21:1-5, also bearing the same two-advent symbolism).

 

By striking the rock instead of speaking to it as he was instructed – and striking it twice at that – Moses sent the wrong message entirely, suggesting, symbolically, that the first striking had been insufficient, and that (again, symbolically) Christ’s sacrifice once and for all had not been enough – something more was needed (and a double effort at that!). Given that exactly this issue has been a tremendous problem for Israel throughout her later history, Moses’ action, while it may seem minor to us, has major implications. The book of Hebrews was written largely to address this issue of the continuation of Jewish believers in sacrifices through which they were essentially also continuing to “strike the Rock”, thus denying by implication that Christ’s work on the cross was sufficient for salvation. In the same second context you ask about,Numbers 20:12 makes this issue clear.

For the basis of God’s rebuke of Moses and Aaron is that they did not believe/trust Him enough (analogous to and typical of future Jews failing to appreciate Christ’s sacrifice) so as “to sanctify” Him or “consider Him holy” (analogous to and typical of future Jewish leaders failing to honor Christ’s sacrifice). Seen in this light, Moses’ lapse and God’s treatment of it should have been a powerful and unmistakable message to future generations of Israel: if even the greatest spiritual leader of Israel would be held to account for failing to appreciate God’s gracious Gift once given, how much more would this not be true for those not of Moses’ stature? The price Moses (and Aaron) paid for this disobedience to the Lord’s command was severe: neither of them was allowed to enter the land (a penalty which looks forward to that future day when those of Israel who do not repent will likewise not be allowed to enter the land upon the Messiah’s return: Ezek.20:30-38; see the link: “The Millennial Regathering and Purging of Israel“):

“And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people: because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel”
Deuteronomy 32:50-51

Even in this failure, Moses stands as an example for all future generations. In Moses’ case, there were mitigating circumstances, to be sure, but even this lapse and the consequences it engendered have served to fulfil the purposes of God. And there is also the fact that Moses’ work is not yet done. Along with Elijah, the other prominent man of God whose body was spared corruption, Moses will be revived in the early days of the Tribulation to fulfil an important ministry of turning Israel back from this very hardness of heart, and turning many back from the same tendency he symbolized on this occasion of failing to treat God as holy by failing to appreciate, accept and respect the Messiah’s sacrifice (Rev.11).

 

 

Moses striking the Rock

Charity-J C Ryle

Submitted by Michael Hobbis on 28/05/2014. Posted in Articles, Responsibility

by J. C. Ryle


The charity of the Bible does not consist in never disapproving anybody’s conduct. Here is another very common delusion! Thousands pride themselves on never condemning others, or calling them wrong, whatever they may do. They convert the precept of our Lord, “Judge not,” into an excuse for having no unfavourable opinion at all of anybody. They pervert His prohibition of rash and censorious judgments into a prohibition of all judgments whatsoever. Your neighbour may be a drunkard, a liar, a Sabbath- breaker, a passionate man. Never mind! “It is not charity,” they tell you, “to pronounce him wrong.” You are to believe he has a good heart at bottom! This idea of charity is, unhappily, a very common one. It is full of mischief. To throw a veil over sin, and to refuse to call things by their right names – to talk of “hearts” being good when lives are flatly wrong—to shut our eyes against wickedness, and say smooth things of immorality—this is not Scriptural charity

The charity of the Bible does not consist in never disapproving anybody’s religious opinions. Here is another most serious and growing delusion. There are many who pride themselves on never pronouncing others mistaken, whatever views they may hold. Your neighbour, forsooth, may be an Arian, or a Socinian, a Roman Catholic, or a Mormon, a Deist or Skeptic, a mere Formalist or a thorough Antinomian, but the “charity” of many says that you have no right to think him wrong! If he is sincere, it is “uncharitable” to think unfavourably of his spiritual condition! From such charity may I ever be delivered!

At this rate the Apostles were wrong in going out to preach to the Gentiles! At this rate there is no use in missions! At this rate we had better close our Bibles and shut up our churches! Everybody is right and nobody is wrong! Everybody is going to heaven and nobody is going to hell! Such charity is a monstrous caricature. To say that all are equally right in their opinions, though their opinions flatly contradict one another— to say that all are equally in the way to heaven, though their doctrinal sentiments are as opposite as black and white—this is not Scriptural charity.

Charity like this pours contempt on the Bible, and talks as if God had not given us a written test of truth .Charity like this confuses all our notions of heaven, and would fill it with a discordant, inharmonious rabble. True charity does not think everybody right in doctrine True charity cries, “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not” (2 John 10).

I leave the negative side of the question here. I have dwelt upon it at some length because of the days in which we live and the strange notions which abound. Let me now turn to the positive side. Having shown what charity is not, let me now show what it is.

Charity is that “love” which St. Paul places first among those fruits which the Spirit causes to be brought forth in the heart of a believer. “The fruit of the Spirit is love” (Galatians 5:22). Love to God, such as Adam had before the fall, is its first feature. He that has charity desires to love God with heart and soul and mind and strength. Love to man is its second feature. He that has charity desires to love his neighbour as himself. This is indeed that view in which the word “charity” in Scripture is more especially regarded. When I speak of a believer having “love” in his heart, I mean that he has love to both God and man. When I speak of a believer having “charity,” I mean more particularly that he has love to man.

The charity of the Bible will show itself in a believer’s doings. It will make him ready to do kind acts to everyone within his reach – both to their bodies and souls. It will not let him be content with soft words and kind wishes. It will make him diligent in doing all that lies in his power to lessen the sorrow and increase the happiness of others. Like his Master, he will care more for ministering than for being ministered to, and will look for nothing in return.Like his Master’s great apostle, he will very willingly “spend and be spent” for others, even though they repay him with hatred, and not with love. True charity does not want wages. Its work is its reward.

 

 

Charity-J C Ryle

September 2013

Submitted by Michael Hobbis on 22/01/2014. Posted in Back Issues Newsletters, September 2013

Click the image to download the
newsletter in PDF format

August 2013

Submitted by Michael Hobbis on 22/01/2014. Posted in August 2013, Back Issues Newsletters

Click the image to download the
newsletter in PDF format

July 2013

Submitted by Michael Hobbis on 22/01/2014. Posted in Back Issues Newsletters, July 2013

Click the image to download the

newsletter in PDF format

June 2013

Submitted by Michael Hobbis on 22/01/2014. Posted in Back Issues Newsletters, June 2013

Click the image to download the

newsletter in PDF format

May 2013

Submitted by Michael Hobbis on 22/01/2014. Posted in Back Issues Newsletters, May 2013

Click the image to download the

newsletter in PDF format

March/April 2013

Submitted by Michael Hobbis on 22/01/2014. Posted in Back Issues Newsletters, March/April 2013

Click the image to download the

newsletter in PDF format